Knife Party – Abandon Ship
Since the inaugural release of their debut EP 100% No Modern Talking in 2011, Knife Party have been tearing up the biggest festival and club dance floors worldwide. After Rob Swire and Gareth McGrillen’s decade long stint with the highly successful drum and bass group Pendulum, the two decided to start a side project that comprised heavily of electro house and dubstep sounds. Internet Friends and their collaboration with Swedish House Mafia became instant classics as Knife Party quickly developed into dance music’s premiere production duo. Knife Party continued to develop their iconic sound in 2012 on their second EP Rage Valley with tracks like dubstep brain-splitter Centipede and the rebellious club anthem Bonfire.
Knife Party’s most recent release prior to Abandon Ship was their Haunted House EP in 2013. For dedicated Knife Party fans, the release was somewhat polarising. This is primarily because the feature track LRAD epitomises big room house, which was a drastic shift from the previous releases. No one can fault Knife Party for their willingness to try new things but its clear that big room house is not the group’s forte. Even though LRAD is not a highlight of Knife Party’s work, it is still one of the better big room house songs to date.
The past three years have certainly been a whirlwind for Knife Party. The duo have headlined festivals across the globe, whilst still having their Pendulum project in the works, albeit in a current hiatus. Slowing down from touring considerably in 2014 to finish up Abandon Ship, the duo have finally produced an album that showcases the vast range of talents they can have to offer. Whether you’re a 2011 circuit hardcore fan or you heard the newest feature track Begin Again on the radio for the first time this morning, this album has a little bit of everything.
As arguably two of the most talented producers in dance music right now, it seems as though Knife Party make music of different genres just to show others the right way to do it. Having already reached near legendary status with Pendulum, it is almost unfair to other artists. The first trap song Knife Party has ever produced, Boss Mode, is everything you would expect from a banging trap tune but just better. It sounds incredibly clean and proves Knife Party’s flawless mixing skills.
EDM Trend Machine directly shows Knife Party’s tendency to produce what is popular, as it features a deep house vibe that is also outside the norm for the duo. The two seconds of big room house and dubstep before each drop is great, as the song then reverts back to deep house. Rob Swire can definitely be quite snarky, so you can tell he had fun trolling listeners.
One thing Knife Party have always been consistent with is the construction of their songs. Yes, the duo are known for heavy bass drops, but just like Pendulum, Knife Party are masterful at building their tracks up by using impeccable chord progressions. The experimentation with disco on Abandon Ship has really demonstrated their song writing versatility. Since disco tracks are usually structured much different than the intro, build, drop, build, drop, outro structure of electro and dubstep, it’s easy to see that Knife Party are incredibly talented when it comes to writing songs. Superstar is one of the disco tracks that exemplifies Knife Party’s song writing talent with its smooth vibes that will force you to get off your ass and dance. Other house tracks like D.I.H.M. and Micropenis are great examples of Knife Party’s ability as diverse song writers.
As previously mentioned, Abandon Ship does an excellent job of supplying variety. Each song transitions very well between each other, yet take on their own unique sound. A great example can be seen with Red Dawn, a powerful track that showcases their heavier style, which is followed by Kaleidoscope, a progressive and quite ambient track that perfectly closes the album.
This debut full length album is the perfect combination of the Perth-bred duo’s dubstep and hard electro roots, with forward sounding tracks that are unique and vibrant. In many ways the album is totally over the top, but that is just reflective of Rob Swire’s personality. The quicky lyrics and samples make Abandon Ship surprisingly humorous and only add to an already intriguing listen.
Knife Party released all of their past work for free, so buying Abandon Ship would be a great way to reward the group for all of their hard work. Rob and Gareth definitely deserve a break after this past year in the studio. However, that does not stop us from eagerly awaiting their return to Pendulum for what is sure to be another classic album.